A Mach 5 vehicle capable of travelling from Europe to Australia in 2-4h is the focus of a €7 million ($8.4 million), three-year European hypersonic research project, Long Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies (LAPCAT).

Using €4 million from the European Commission and the rest from industry, the aim is to evaluate the critical technologies for engine/airframe integration, highly efficient turbine powerplants and heat exchangers. This will involve supersonic and high-pressure combustion experiments, the validation of combustion physics models and aerodynamic studies of nozzles, intakes and complete engines.

Turbine- and rocket-based combined-cycle engine concepts will be of particular interest.

“At lower Mach speeds we would only use air-breathing propulsion, but for the higher mach speeds, like Mach 8, we would move into rocket assisted scramjets,” says Johan Steelant, the European Space Agency’s LAPCAT project co-ordinator.

Source: Flight International